Exclusive: Tim Berners-Lee tells us his radical new plan to upend the World Wide Web
This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt, a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it's game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over.
"We have to do it now," he says, displaying an intensity and urgency that is uncharacteristic for this soft-spoken academic. "It's a historical moment." Ever since revelations emerged that Facebook had allowed people's data to be misused by political operatives, Berners-Lee has felt an imperative to get this digital idyll into the real world. In a post published this weekend, Berners-Lee explains that he is taking a sabbatical from MIT to work full time on Inrupt. The company will be the first major commercial venture built off of Solid, a decentralized web platform he and others at MIT have spent years building.
If all goes as planned, Inrupt will be to Solid what Netscape once was for many first-time users of the web: an easy way in. And like with Netscape, Berners-Lee hopes Inrupt will be just the first of many companies to emerge from Solid.
[...] [On] Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.
How does Solid compare to Tor, I2P, Freenet, IPFS, Diaspora, etc.?
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(Score: 5, Informative) by tibman on Monday October 01 2018, @01:15AM (6 children)
SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
(Score: 4, Interesting) by coolgopher on Monday October 01 2018, @02:27AM (4 children)
Uh-huh, and what's stopping FB et al from adding support for "link/import pod" whereby they copy (potentially continuously so) the data from your pod? If you nuke your pod, they'd still have all the data...
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:50AM
Nothing as far as I know. Yet they still would not have all the interactions unlike currently.
(Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 01 2018, @02:55AM (2 children)
That's the point. You're not tied to using Facebook's "app".
It's like having an open document format; you don't have to use Microsoft Word anymore; you can use any editor or service that uses the open document format.
(Score: 2) by coolgopher on Monday October 01 2018, @07:19AM (1 child)
When everyone else is still using Word and shipping files in its broken version of the "open document format", you're still locked to #&!~@# Word.
(Score: 3, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Monday October 01 2018, @09:42AM
> everyone else is still using Word
An alternative model is "email", where some use gmail and others use hotmail and others use . A few even grow their own.
Which model will win? Well no one ever won a war without fighting a battle, and right now it looks like we need a better way...
(Score: 2) by acid andy on Monday October 01 2018, @12:52PM
I really want to get excited about this but it sounds like it won't be too useful for people like us that already avoid F***book and similar. If you make data in your pod available to other people, there's still nothing to stop corporations making copies of that data. It allows text and images, so that means it can deliver advertisements as well. It would be good if it makes an equivalent of cross domain requests and tracking impossible to engineer, although with effort we can already block those things with browser add ons, with mixed success.
Master of the science of the art of the science of art.